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Clearing the Channel

Here is an article I wrote for Human Development magazine, focusing on burnout in the helping professions. It contains a cautionary tale, an action plan, and a success story.
––Jeff Jay

“Make me a channel of your peace….” —Prayer of St. Francis

We can all admire the prayer attributed to St. Francis, no matter what our pastoral, teaching, or care-giving role. But what can I do to keep my own channel clear? Having worked as an addiction counselor for decades, I know something about crisis management and unrelenting stress. For most of us, they’re part of the job description. What can I do to keep the channel clear and avoid burnout?

The neglect of this question killed a co-worker of mine, shocking everyone in the organization. It was early in my career, and burnout was not yet well understood. As a staff, we dismissed the notion of self-care, but our nonchalance withered as his funeral approached.